Ubik

( 49 )

Overview

“From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you’ll never be sure you’ve woken up from.”—Lev Grossman, Time

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in “half-life,” a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the ...

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Ubik

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Overview

“From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you’ll never be sure you’ve woken up from.”—Lev Grossman, Time

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in “half-life,” a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter’s face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.

“More brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo.”—Roberto Bolaño

Glen Runciter is dead--or is everybody else? Somebody died in an explosion orchestrated by Runciter's business competitors, but it's hard to tell who. Filled with paranoic menace and unfettered slapstick, Ubik is a metaphysical comedy of death and salvation--which comes in a convenient aerosal spray, to be used only as directed.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547572291
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 122,108
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Over a writing career that spanned three decades, Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film; notably: Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2001

    One of the classics

    This is a kind of novel as a chess game, trying to understand what is really happening, at the same time as a deeply emotional struggle with identity and the inevitability of death. I've read a couple of thousand novels of all kinds and this would be in my top ten.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2012

    I recently read Philip K. Dick¿s ¿The Man in the High Castle¿ an

    I recently read Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” and was a little disappointed with it. For me, that book lacked the wild speculative nature and imaginative concepts I’d come to expect from Dick’s stories. Thankfully, “Ubik” has both those things in spades.

    “Ubik” exists in a world where there are a variety of psychic humans who can be hired (like the precogs that were central to Dick’s “Minority Report”) for nearly any psychic activity, including nefarious things like corporate espionage.

    Ubik takes it a speculative step further, though, in that while whole companies of psychic individuals exist, there are also companies dedicated to countering (or blocking) psychic activities. So if you have a telepath reading your mind, you could hire an anti-telepath to block that reading. Interesting and unique idea.

    Another interesting “Ubik” concept is “half-life”. This is the idea that some people, if they are caught soon enough after death, can be frozen and communicated with for many years after they otherwise would’ve died. The story opens, in fact, with one of the main characters communicating with his dead wife. She helps run his company!

    The book is a real page-turner, and many times I found myself wondering where the author was going, only to find he was going someplace complete different than I expected. If I had any disappointment with “Ubik”, it is with the character arc of Pat Conley. She possesses a unique anti-psi ability, which never seemed to get the use that the buildup of her character suggested. So many things in Dick’s stories are mere diversions, though. He gets you watching one hand, only to sneak the ball into the other.

    What shouldn’t be missed here, though, is the metaphor of the substance Ubik (Is it a salve? Is it a spray? Is it a pill?). Like nearly everything in the story, the real Ubik is more than you might originally suspect.

    “Ubik” is worth every penny. Read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Astonishing!

    After reading about 20 books thus far this year I can honestly say this one would be the title I would recommend without hesitation. Brilliant pros. Brilliant plot. Extremely suspenseful and absolutely original. If you are a person who reads to relax you mind perhaps this is not a book for you.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2006

    Metaphisical Confusion

    Who is dead,who is alive,is there a tommorow? this tale asks the question are you alive or are you dead? Through the book we are asked the question at the beggining of my recomendation and I do not think the author knows either(no offense)but the point is the fearful question what happens when we pass away.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Metaphysics Made Fun

    Metaphysical fiction is an unusual subgenre of sci-fi, and this is a fine example.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    A shecat

    Waits to be mated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    Keeps you guessing!

    An involved story that blends sci-fi and mystery...absurdly funny and compelling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    This is what SciFi is all about

    Smart story keeps you guessing (wrongly) what's going on.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Needs Work

    Please do not think I am taking away from teh author, but the book needed work. It left a lot to the imagination of te reader. too many gaps.

    Good concept though, something that I would like to see pushed further.

    sb

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Classic PKD

    A good story told with the clarity of a writer confident in his own imagimation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun to read!

    Enjoyable read. Not strenuous in any way, while still imaginative.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2009

    Highly Recommended

    A blissful breakdown of reality, you will be joyfully confused by the bleary and dreamlike world that is Ubik.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    A mind blowing read....my head was tired after finishing this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews

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